Baltimore City Recreation and Parks (BCRP) wants you — and your kids — to get moving! They’ve launched a $5 5K series (yes, $5) that will take you and your adventurous family members around some of Charm City’s favorite parks. The next run/walk is July 29th at Carroll Park. Don’t worry if you’re down the shore that weekend because $5 5Ks run through December.

Excited? We are, too! But running with kids isn’t quite like hitting the pavement on your own. So we teamed up with BCRP to offer a few 5K tips for families!

Tips for Running a 5K with Your Kids

When in Doubt, Bring the Stroller

Sure, if your child is in preschool, the stroller is a no-brainer. But what about a 5-year-old or 6-year-old? If it’s their first time out, it’s a good idea to bring the jogging stroller in case they need a rest. Unless, of course, you’re up for giving mile-long piggyback rides. All $5 5Ks are designed to be stroller friendly except for Zombies Zoom in October.

Don’t Forget the Warm-Up

Get those muscles moving with some warm-up stretches.

Be Realistic

Let’s be honest… you’re probably not going get a personal record while running with young kids, so be realistic about your child’s abilities. It’s a fine line — you want your child to feel accomplished when they cross the finish line, but if you push too hard and they are miserable, the experience will not be remembered fondly. The $5 5K is designed to get kids out and give them a confidence boost. The goal: just get everyone moving.

Tips for Running a 5K with Kids - (cool) progeny

Mix-Up Running and Walking

The idea of running 3.1 miles sounds really exciting… until little legs start going and realize just how far 3.1 miles can be. (Especially when excited little runners take off at their highest speeds at the start of the race). Instead of aiming to run the entire length of the race, pick out markers along the path and set shorter goals. For example, tell your child “we’ll run until that sign” or “See that bench? Let’s jog to there and then take a minute walk break. ” Be thoughtful with words of encouragement. When you crest the tall hill, take a minute to stop, look back, and say “Can you believe it? You just ran up that huge hill!” Pointing out your child’s accomplishments will mean more than overdoing the “you’re doing great!” cheerleading.

Hydrate

Water is always a good idea. For everyone. There are water stations at the beginning of each $5 5K and at least one along the route.

Make a Play List

The best way to keep everyone energized? A fun play list with favorite songs the whole family loves. We’ve got some suggestions here.

Pack a Favorite Healthy Snack for the Finish Line

Refuel at the finish line with a favorite healthy snack. Bananas with nut butter (or sun butter), apple slices, or granola bars are all easy to pack. At each $5 5K race, snacks are provided for participants. For adults, there is free coffee courtesy of Zeke’s Coffee.

Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming $5 5Ks

Family Fun Field Day 5K at Rash Field Inner Harbor
Sunday, Aug. 27 | 7:30 A.M.

Fall into Fitness 5K at Jones Falls Trail

Saturday, Sept. 23 | 7:30 A.M. Cylburn Start

Zombies Zoom 5K at Gwynns Falls Trail (*not stroller friendly) 

Saturday, Oct. 14 | 8:00 A.M.

Trot the Trail 5K at Herring Run

Sunday, Nov. 19 | 8:00 A.M.

Reindeer Run 5K at West Shore Park, Inner Harbor

Saturday, Dec. 9 | 8:30 A.M.

Learn More/Register for a $5 5K

About Our Sponsor: Baltimore City Recreation and Parks

Baltimore City Recreation and Parks is the city’s leading provider of affordable, year-round leisure and recreational activities for citizens of all ages and abilities. Beautiful parks, trails and waterways provide the perfect urban oasis.